Happy Endings

When I'm at a lose for what kind of cookies to make, I start out with a simple base recipes consisting of flour, margarine and sugar -- with a few other choice ingredients. Then, I add what I have on hand or have a hankering for. I call them my Any-Way-You-Want Cookies and they're a great way to fill the cookie jar.

Rather than go into great detail about the recipe itself, I'd rather share with you some of my favorite cookie creations that were born out of this basic recipe. The photo included in this column shows a dozen cookies speckled with toffee bits and finely chopped toasted pecans. They make a great snack with a cup of my favorite green tea. For a tried and true approach, try adding chocolate chips and walnuts to the mix. After all, it's hard to argue with a traditional chocolate chip cookie. For those wishing for something a little more indulgent, try adding some high quality chocolate chunks and coarsely chopped macadamia nuts. On the more unusual -- but just as tasty -- side, I've added one cup of white chocolate chips, one cup of dried cranberries and one cup of walnuts. Another winner involves one cup of butterscotch chips, one cup of raisins and one cup of finely chopped roasted peanuts. When it comes down to it, the name of this recipe really says it all. Feel free to experiment and let us know about your favorite renditions too.

Any-Way-You-Want Cookies

  • 2 1/4 c. flour (I like to use a 50/50 mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. margarine, softened
  • 3/4 c. granuated sugar
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. any of the following additions (you can mix in two of the following by adding one cup of each):
    • semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
    • white chocolate chips or chunks
    • toffee bits
    • butterscotch chips
    • dried cranberries
    • raisins
  • 1 c. chopped nuts (choose your favorite variety)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat the margarine, sugars and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs -- one at a time -- beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. Stir in your choice of additions and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Cool on a baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

  • Yields: 5 dozen cookies
  • Preparation Time: 40-50 minutes